Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (Kochiyama & Naozamurai)


Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana (Kochiyama & Naozamurai)

A comical villain or guardian of the weak? The impossible-to-hate tea master Kochiyama defeats a selfish lord. Meanwhile, in a completely different subplot, the fugitive samurai Naojiro rushes to meet his lover briefly before escaping forever.

A masterwork home drama dealing with outlaws deemed “the Six Stars of the Tempo Era”. Kochiyama, a tea master who serves lords and high-ranking officials at Edo Castle, takes advantage of his high position to seek bribes. In order to save others, he fearlessly dupes a lord in the latter’s own domain, where his bold speech is one of the play’s highlights. In another scene, the fugitive samurai Naojiro appears in a shabby noodle shop near Ueno. He meets his lover Michitose and tells her of his plan to leave Edo. She begs him to either take her along or kill her. A love story told to the melancholic strains of kiyomoto music.


by Kaneda Eiichi

Huge sum for rescuing daughter

Kochiyama Soshun is a tea master serving high officials at Edo Castle. He takes advantage of his position through unrespectable behavior and is the subject of much gossip. A pawnbroker he visits one day looks troubled. Kochiyama learns that the shopkeeper’s daughter has been forced to become a lord’s concubine and is a virtual prisoner. The shopkeeper wants to rescue her, but believes it is impossible given the lord’s powerful status. Kochiyama offers to undertake her rescue for the considerable sum of 200 ryo, of which half must be paid in advance.

【Left】[from left]Kochiyama Soshun(Nakamura Kichiemon)、Omaki(Nakamura Kichinojo)、Izumiya Seibei(Nakamura Karoku) September 2008 Kabukiza Theatre

【Right】[from left]Omaki(Nakamura Kaishun)、Izumiya Seibei(Nakamura Karoku) September 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre


Kochiyama claims to be temple abbot

At the mansion of the lord of Izumo, the servant Namiji has resigned herself to death at her master’s hand. Kochiyama then appears in a monk’s robe pretending to be an abbot from Ueno’s Kan’ei Temple. In a not-so-subtle hint, he reminds the lord that the house could be terminated if his actions become known to Edo Castle. The house falls into panic, and the daughter is released. On Kochiyama’s way out, however, he is recognized by a servant because of the identifying mole on his face. Kochiyama keeps his cool. He notes that he reports directly to the shogun himself and threatens to mention this scandal. The servants have no choice but to maintain the fiction that this is an abbot. Kochiyama wins regardless of how this plays out, and calls the servants idiots as he departs in high spirits.

【Left】[from left]Namiji(Ichikawa Komazo)、Miyazaki Kazuma(Ichikawa Monnosuke)、Lord of Matsue(Nakamura Baigyoku) September 2009 Kabukiza Theatre 【Center】[from left]Lord of Matsue(Nakamura Kinnosuke)、Kochiyama Soshun(Matsumoto Koshiro) November 2010 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre 【Right】[from left]Kochiyama Soshun(Nakamura Kichiemon)、Miyazaki Kazuma(Nakamura Kinnosuke)、Lord of Matsue(Nakamura Baigyoku)、Takagi Kozaemon(Nakamura Matagoro) September 2012 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre


Naojiro learns his lover’s whereabouts

Kataoka Naojiro visits the empty town of Iriya on a late snowy night. He stops in a noodle shop and warms himself with hot noodles and sake. A blind masseur, a friend of Naojiro, enters. He tells Naojiro that the courtesan Michitose, Naojiro’s lover, has been ill and is recuperating at her agent’s home. The masseur has been visiting every night to treat her. Naojiro gives him a letter to pass to Michitose. Naojiro is planning to visit her tonight. However, he is spotted by a colleague, who runs to the police to report on the fugitive in hopes of receiving a pardon for his own crimes.

【Left】Kataoka Naojiro(Onoe Kikugoro) November 2010 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre 【Right】[from left]Joga(Sawamura Tanosuke)、Kataoka Naojiro(Onoe Kikugoro) November 2010 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre


Lovers’ dangerous secret rendezvous

Naojiro sneaks up to the agent’s home in the snow. The snow falls on Naojiro, who is wearing wooden clogs with bare feet. If the letter was passed safely by the masseur, the door should be open. As he enters, his lover Michitose appears. Michitose’s illness had stemmed from anxiety as Naojiro did not visit her. Naojiro reveals that he is a fugitive and must leave Edo immediately, and has come to say goodbye. Michitose, distraught, asks him to kill her first if he must leave her. Sad kiyomoto music can be heard from the house next door. When policemen appear, Naojiro jumps over the fence, yelling back at his lover as he escapes in the snow, “We won’t meet again in this world!”

【Left】[from left]Michitose(Nakamura Tokizo)、Kataoka Naojiro(Onoe Kikugoro) November 2010 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre 【Right】[from left]Kataoka Naojiro(Onoe Kikugoro)、Michitose(Nakamura Tokizo) November 2010 Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre